Tim Berners-Lee sells web debut as NFT


If anyone understands the power of technology, it is Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web. He created what could be the cutting edge non-fungible token – containing the original source code for the web.

The 9,555 lines of code, written between October 1990 and August 1991, are part of a token that also includes Berners-Lee’s digital signature, now on the ethereum blockchain. The scientist describes the NFT phenomenon as “the perfect way to pack the origins behind the Web”.

It might not be exactly art, but Sotheby’s will auction Berners-Lee’s NFT via its website between June 23 and 30 to benefit the scientist’s charitable initiatives. The auctions will open at $ 1,000, but we can expect them to overexcite at much higher levels. Cryptocurrencies are, of course, accepted.

“Going to the match” by Laurence Stephen Lowry (1928)

Purchase financing – when the money is advanced to buy assets – is mainly associated with the automotive industry, but is also a growing area of ​​the art market. From this month, The fine arts group has extended its portfolio of loans to people who wish to buy at public auctions.

“Since the pandemic, we have seen increased demand as people want to keep more personal cash. It makes sense to offer the service to buyers at auction as well as in the private market, ”says Freya Stewart, Managing Director of Art Funding for TFAG.

Eligible works are those with a low estimate above $ 1 million, says Stewart, and she cites two paintings in upcoming London auctions that have caught her attention: Bridget Riley’s “Zing 2”(1971) at Christie’s on June 30 (estimated between £ 1.8m and £ 2.2m) and Laurence Stephen Lowry’s“Go to the match”(1928) at Sotheby’s on June 29 (is £ 2-3million), which fits well with the current Euro 2020 football tournament.

Stewart is less convinced of loaning money up front to buy NFT works. It’s not so much a commentary on art, she says, as it is on the unrealistic prices they sell for given their appeal to owners of virtual currencies. “I am skeptical of the crypto premium,” she says.

For eligible works, TFAG will lend between 40 and 50 percent of the value, with rates between 6 and 7 percent per year. Loans are currently offered for terms of between six months and two years, although Stewart says they would be willing to extend that term on a work that “worked” well. She confirms that there is also demand from clients of Pall Mall Art Advisors, a US company acquired by TFAG last month. Sotheby’s has also started offering six-month loans to finance the work of its selected sales, valued at $ 400,000.

Julie Mehretu’s “Dissident Score” (2019-21) sold for $ 6.5 million © Tom Powel Imaging

The Artsy online marketplace set a double record with Julie Mehretu’s “Dissident Score” (2019-21), which sold for $ 6.5 million last week (is $ 3-4 million). This is the highest public price for the artist and for the online art platform only.

The painting was carried out for the benefit of the Art for Justice Fund, set up by philanthropist Agnes Gund to reduce prison populations in the United States and the racism that drives it. Artsy waived its sales commission, typically an additional 10 percent or more at this price point in the industry.

Dustyn Kim, Director of Revenue at Artsy, said the sale marks a defining moment for the platform, which launched in 2012. “It was an honor to be the chosen partner for this auction and proof that since the pandemic, buyer and seller psychology has changed. The ability to transact at such prices has allayed any lingering doubts about the supply of work online, “she said Mehretu’s work was offered on Artsy between May 26 and June 10, and six bidders from around the world competed in its final hours, Kim confirms.

Jahann Zoffany, 'Ulysses Seizing Astyanax from Andromache' (c1758-59)

Jahann Zoffany, ‘Ulysses Seizing Astyanax from Andromache’ (c1758-59)

England’s lockdown has been extended four more weeks, but the background to Masterpiece Online, which runs June 23-27, shows how far we’ve come since last year. The London Intercategory Fair physical event has been canceled for the second time in a row but, as the galleries are open this time around, it may still generate in-person activity.

“This year is a campaign for what people do physically,” said Executive Director Lucie Kitchener. Recommended gallery tours – either across categories or specialist areas – will be available via videos and should also help digital-only visitors to the show negotiate its 127 exhibitors (chefd’oeuvrefair.com). “Otherwise it can be a little intimidating,” Kitchener says.

Several galleries have works from Masterpiece Online in their actual spaces. At Dickinson, these are spread across the Atlantic. “by Johann Zoffany”Ulysses seizing Astyanax from Andromache”(C1758-59) will be in his gallery in London; “” By Frederick Childe HassamWoman Reading (Portrait of Nellie Dubois Boyle)(1885) will be in New York, “with a lot more and more” for in-person visitors, promises Emma Ward, Dickinson’s general manager.

Gabonese croc head (est 2m € -3m €)

Croc head from Gabon (est 2M € -3M €) © Vincent Girier Dufournier

Christie’s Paris offers a prize next week’s collection of 61 pieces of mostly African and oceanic art. These belonged to the jeweler, gallery owner and collector Michel Perinet, died last year. Alexis Maggiar, Head of African and Oceanic Art at Christie, explains that the collection is particularly rare because it covers such a large area, encompassing West and Central Africa as well as Easter Island, Papua New Guinea. and the Solomon Islands.

Many of the best-known European artists of the 20th century, most notably Picasso, were heavily influenced by tribal sculptures and masks. The flagship lot of the Périnet sale is a Gabonese fang head (est € 2m-€ 3m), whose first registered owner was the fawn artist Maurice de Vlaminck. This, like the majority of Périnet’s artefacts, is dated to the 19th century, although the auction also features a much older piece – a Dogon-Nongom figurine from Mali that Maggiar dates from the 11th century (estimated 150,000 to 250,000 €).

Buyers in this previously niche field have expanded significantly internationally as part of a more cross-cutting mindset, he says. Some collectors from Africa have also entered the market but, says Maggiar, “not enough yet, it would be my life’s goal to see more”. The entire collection is estimated between 17 and 23 million euros on June 23.

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